“There is an aspiration that binds us. It is the dream of justice for a beloved community. It is the belief that extremes and excesses of inequality must be reduced so that each person is free to develop his or her full potential.”
Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash with his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia while campaigning for his third term as U.S. Senator from Minnesota. One of the most progressive voices in the Senate, he was for affordable health care, strict environment protection, campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage, arms control, veterans’ benefits, gay rights, and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization. He was opposed to extravagant expenditures on weapons. He voted against the Iraq War resolution shortly before his death.
Wellstone was born July 21, 1944, the son of immigrant Russian Jews. He grew up in Virginia and went on a scholarship to the University of North Carolina where he was a champion wrestler and earned a B.A. and Ph. D. in political science. In 1970 he began teaching at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, while continuing as a political activist. He protested the Vietnam War, mobilized welfare mothers, organized for nuclear disarmament, and was arrested sitting in at a bank that had foreclosed on local farmers. In 1990 Wellstone ran a liberal, populist campaign for Senator, winning against an incumbent.
Wellstone said, “Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”
Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) offers a variety of ways to engage with its portraits and portrait subjects. Host an exhibit, use our free lesson plans and educational programs, or engage with a member of the AWTT team or portrait subjects.
AWTT has educational materials and lesson plans that ask students to grapple with truth, justice, and freedom.
AWTT encourages community engagement programs and exhibits accompanied by public events that stimulate dialogue around citizenship, education, and activism.